Digital Connection

#DigitalConnection: Protect Your Business with Positive Pay

Are you proactively protecting your business against fraud? First County Bank offers business owners Positive Pay services to prevent check and ACH fraud before it’s too late. These services provide fraud protection by monitoring each check and ACH transaction that clear your business account daily.

Positive Pay offers easy-to-use online tools for reviewing these transactions. The online system matches an uploaded file of issued checks against those presented for payment to ensure that only authorized payments are processed. Business owners are notified automatically by email if fraud is suspected, providing the best practice in prevention.

For more information, contact the Cash Management Services Department at 203.462.4379 (Mon – Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

First County Bank Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Mark Ayen

Meet Mark Ayen– VP and Network Manager of the IT Department. Mark has been with the Bank for 17 years.

Tell us a little about yourself – feel free to include information about your family, hobbies and/or involvement in the community:

I was born in California, but have lived in lower Fairfield County most of my life.  Currently, I live in Norwalk with my wife, MaryLynn, and daughter, Veronica.  All three of us are taking classes.  I am in the UConn part-time MBA program; MaryLynn is working towards an accounting degree; and Veronica is a high school student at Brien McMahon high school.

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?

My position affords me the opportunity to with colleagues in all functional areas of the Bank.  I enjoy learning about how the different operating divisions work together to create a functioning whole and using that knowledge to ensure IT provides a high level of service to its internal customers.                                                                        

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

The most common question I receive from my fellow employees, who are my internal customers, is probably, “Can I have a new…”?  I use this question as an opportunity as a springboard for conversations about the customer’s actual need and the best way to resolve it.  Sometimes, the best way is by providing the new equipment or application originally requested, but sometimes we’re able to determine a better way that they didn’t originally consider.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

My favorite First County Bank moment came before I even started working at the Bank.  When I was working for another bank, I attended a conference and was the sole attendee from my institution.  I ran into Tom Bartram and Toni Pellegrino (whom I had met at previous events), who invited me to hang out with the First County Bank contingent.  I had a great time and resolved to work for First County Bank if the opportunity ever presented itself.  A couple of years later, I had an opportunity to work for First County Bank and I jumped at the chance!

Bank News, In Our Community

October Food Drive

Please join us in collecting non-perishable food donations during the month of October for The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. Last year, food drives provided one-third of all the food distributed by The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc. Through the efforts of local businesses, schools, churches and clubs, the organization helped feed over 200,000 individuals in the community.

The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to any qualified non-profit agency in a six-town area which includes soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food pantries, child day care centers, after school programs, senior centers and rehabilitation programs.

In Fairfield County, a family of four needs an annual salary of about $71,000 to avoid being “food insecure,” i.e. lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Often, the working poor only earn Connecticut’s minimum wage, and many choose between eating nutritiously or paying the rent. Therefore, they obtain food via food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters that are member agencies of The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc.

Food Insecurity in Connecticut

  • 13.9% of Connecticut residents are food insecure and 6% are very food insecure
  • Only 51 students participate in free and reduced price breakfast for every 100 in lunch.
  • Only 53% of the eligible working poor participate in the SNAP (food stamps) program. Many go to food pantries instead for food.
  • Over 700,000 Connecticut adults are living below the Federal poverty level.
  • Over 118,000 Connecticut children are living in poverty.

Source EndHungerCT.org

Now through Wednesday, October 31, First County Bank will serve as a donation center and we encourage the community to bring in canned goods, boxed goods and other non-perishable food items to help stock the shelves.

Will you be a part of the change and #BankonEndingHunger this October by donating to The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County? Please stop by one of our branches to bring your non-perishable food items now through the end of October.

For branch locations visit: https://www.firstcountybank.com/branch-hours-locations-and-directions

Bank News, Customer Profile, In Our Community, Smart Savings Tips

FirstPrize $avings Winner: Evelin S. Molina-Payes

First County Bank congratulates the recent winner of the FirstPrize $avings account prize drawing– Evelin S. Molina-Payes of Stamford, CT. Evelin is a college student and plans to use her $1,000 winnings on text books and other class supplies.

The FirstPrize $avings account is a basic savings account with a cash prize drawing component to promote personal savings. With each eligible deposit of $25 or more, the account holder earns an entry into a drawing for a $1,000 prize. The drawing occurs four times per calendar year.

Account details, rules and regulations are posted on the First County Bank savings account website: https://firstcountybank.com/firstprize-savings. To learn more about the FirstPrize $avings account, click view the official FirstPrize $avings Account Official Rules which may be found in the Savings Account Disclosure.

Pictured left to right:  Executive Vice President Willard Miley; Branch Manager Edens Fleurizard; prize winner; Evelin S. Molina-Payes, President and COO, Bob Granata.

First County Bank Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Lorraine Russo

Meet Lorraine Russo, a part-time receptionist at our Prospect Street location. Lorraine has been with us for two months.

Tell us a little about yourself – feel free to include information about your family, hobbies and/or involvement in the community:

I am a big fan of old black and white movies, even silent movies. I love to read, and my favorite author is Henning Mankell, a Swedish author whose books are very hard to find. When they do come out they have to be translated from Swedish to English which can take a year or two. I have read most of his books and have also have read all of Agatha Christie books. I‘m now moving on to finish all of Kate Morton’s books. My daughter says I am a voracious reader!

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?

 I like being the receptionist and helping our customers with their inquiries.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

Most customers I come across want to check their balance on their accounts.  I transfer them to the Call Center which will further assist them.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

It was very rewarding to be able to help a customer with special needs find out more information about his account.

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience at the Bank?

Everyone at the Bank is very nice and very helpful.

Digital Connection

#DigitalConnection: Online Banking Made Easy for Business Customers with Direct Connect

Business Banking ‎users have the ability to integrate Online Banking transactions with Quicken® or QuickBooks™ ‎for a more efficient banking experience. Business customers must be enrolled in Quicken® and QuickBooks™ ‎Direct Connect through First County Bank Online Banking. Once enrolled, customers can download transactions for faster end of month reconciliation & enhanced cash flow, eliminating the need for double entry of online bills. Please review our fee disclosures for business accounts or contact Cash Management Services: (203) 462-4379.

Smart Savings Tips

An Apple a Day: Life Insurance Awareness Month

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Have you had your apple today? Stop by any of our branches to get yours and learn more about protecting your assets during “Life Insurance Awareness Month” this September.

In an effort to encourage our customers to review their protection needs, the branches have created some fun ways to get you to think about the importance of life insurance.   Insurance can seem complicated and overwhelming, but as trusted advisors, we are here to be sure you know that we can help with all of your financial needs, including protecting your family from the unexpected.

Life insurance can help secure the financial future of your loved ones, help with funeral costs and pay off any outstanding debts. If you’re a parent, life insurance can help to pay for tuition and other educational expenses for your child. Buying a life insurance policy can help ensure that your family doesn’t have to rely on your retirement savings for financial support should anything happen.

Call our CustomerFirst Contact Center at (203) 462-4400 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. of stop by any one of our 16 conveniently located branches to learn more.

For branch locations visit: https://www.firstcountybank.com/branch-hours-locations-and-directions

Bank News, The CEO's Posts

First County Bank Announces Executive Leadership Promotion

Stamford, Conn., September 17, 2018 – First County Bank announced Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr. will retire in August 2019. He has held the position of CEO since 2011. Under the succession plan, approved by the Board of Directors and effective August of 2019, Giallongo will be succeeded by Robert Granata, current president and COO. Willard M. Miley was promoted to executive vice president by the Board of Directors on August 1, 2018 and in August of 2019 Mr. Miley will assume the role of president and COO as Mr. Granata’s successor. This announcement comes from a deliberate, carefully thought out strategic succession plan.  The Bank will use the coming year to transition its internal, external and community partnerships with a seamless change in leadership.

“We want to ensure our customers and employees that we are taking a strategic approach to our executive leadership plan and have the best in mind for the Bank, now and in the future,” said Rey Giallongo, First County Bank chairman and CEO. “Bob Granata and I have been working closely together to assure a smooth transition of the executive and board leadership of the Bank. We are also excited to announce Willard’s promotion to executive vice president. The board and I are confident the succession plan will continue to steer First County Bank successfully now and into the future.”

Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr. is chairman and CEO of First County Bank and has served in this capacity since 2011. In addition, he is president of the First County Bank Foundation. Mr. Giallongo serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Business Council of Fairfield County and serves as board member of the Housing Development Fund. He served as a member of the Connecticut Bankers Association board of directors; was chairman of the board of commissioners of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District; was a member of the ABA’s Community Bank Council; and served on the New York Federal Reserve Bank Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, (CDIAC). Mr. Giallongo earned a master’s degree in business administration and finance from Babson College, his bachelor’s in business administration from Salem State University and graduated from Stonier Graduate School of Banking.

Robert Granata is president, COO of First County Bank and has served the bank in this capacity since 2014. Mr. Granata brings more than 31 years of experience to the role and is a corporator of First County Bank and on the Board of Directors of the Fairfield County Hospice House, the Ferguson Library and the Mill River Park Collaborative. He also serves on the Leadership Council for Childcare Learning Centers. Mr. Granata earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Anselm College, graduated from New England School of Banking at Williams College and National School of Banking at Fairfield University.

Willard M. Miley is executive vice president, after being promoted from senior vice president, retail banking division. Mr. Miley brings 35 years of experience to his role and started his First County Bank career in 2002. He currently serves on the board of directors for The Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF). Miley earned his bachelor’s degree in business from The University of Bridgeport. He graduated from the National School of Banking at Fairfield University and the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.

About First County Bank

 First County Bank, headquartered in Stamford, Conn. for more than 165 years, is an independent mutual community bank with 16 branches in Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, Fairfield, New Canaan and Westport offering deposit products, mortgages, wealth management, business banking services, and a full array of digital banking products including mobile and online banking. First County Bank has more than 220 employees, assets in excess of $1.5 billion and is a 2016-2018 Women’s Choice Award winner. For additional information, please visit https://www.firstcountybank.com. Become a fan by clicking “Like” on the bank’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/firstcountybank. Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/firstcountybank, view and follow us on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/firstcountybank, watch us on YouTube at http://www.firstcountybank.com/camera or connect with First County Bank on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/920207.

 

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Bank News, First County Bank Profile, In Our Community

Employee Profile: Meet Mat DeRienzo

We’ve been sharing about some of our front-line branch personnel and now we’re expanding to share stories about our wonderful employees who you don’t always see, who support the First County Bank team employees behind the scenes.

This week we meet Mat DeRienzo, a Network/PC Specialist I who works in our IT department. Mat (with one “T”) started out with us four months ago as an intern and was hired to work at First County Bank full-time over the summer.

Tell us a little about yourself – feel free to include information about your family, hobbies and/or involvement in the community:

I am a huge Yankees fan. I also love everything car related and enjoy working on my own car when I get the chance. I’m also guilty of playing video games, which often results in me staying up later than I should on weekdays.

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?

My favorite part about working in IT is being a problem solver. It gives me great satisfaction whenever I fix something.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

The most frequent question I get asked is “can you unblock this site for me?” I normally respond by telling them there’s a process to follow and, unfortunately, I cannot do it on the spot.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

My favorite moment was my internship. The work I received at First County Bank was not “busy work.” It was meaningful work that not only taught me a great deal of information, but was also rewarding. Even though I was only an intern at the time, I felt as if I was part of the team.

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience at the Bank (Optional)?

I’d like to say that I feel truly fortunate that my first job out of college is at First County Bank. I’m a pretty quiet person and was very anxious to embark in my first step to being a real adult. Everyone I interact with is incredibly kind and makes it much easier to be comfortable and confident.

Miscellaneous

World Cup Challenge

Congratulations to Anna Maria Pace, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager of our West Main Street branch, who won the World Cup contest! The branch selected France to win the World Cup and enjoyed celebrating their win. The team opted to fulfill their need for speed by racing at the indoor race track as a group to celebrate.

“We had an awesome time,” Pace said.